Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade
By Yemi Akinsuyi
The Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade, Wednesday said rather than for policemen to be involved in flagrant human rights abuses, especially in the northern part of the country where the Boko Haram insurgents had made life unbearable for the people, they were now the victims.
He attributed this to the incessant and unprovoked attacks on them.
The minister restated the Federal Government’s readiness to welcome assistance from the international community towards addressing the current security challenges facing the country, since it was not an island unto itself.
He stated these when he hosted the Chief Researcher on Nigeria with the international human rights body, Amnesty International, Ms. Lucy Freeman, in his office.
Olubolade disclosed that as part of measures to minimise cases human rights abuse, the ministry has established a Police Performance Monitoring Unit with a mandate not only to monitor and evaluate activities of police officers but to also handle public complaints resulting from them.
He said while the ministry was vigorously undertaking a reform of the Nigeria Police Force, the activities of the insurgent group, Boko
Haram, continue to stifle these efforts owing to its perceived international dimension.
This notwithstanding, the minister expressed the hope that the ongoing reforms would result in an enhanced police force in all departments, including intelligence gathering, and training.
He also emphasized that the new management teams in the ministry and the Police Force strongly encourage less periods of detention of suspects and fast prosecution of cases.
Earlier, Freeman had told the Minister that Amnesty International wanted to know the Ministry’s position on the human rights implications of the security situation in the country, particularly on detention of suspects and processes of investigation.
She noted the concerns of her organisation on two critical areas, namely the sustained killing of policemen and inadequate equipment at the disposal of the force for optimum performance